A proposal to put dozens of townhomes on a 4-acre site near two Olentangy schools and a busy intersection was met with resistance from nearby residents and Powell zoning commission members.

The planning and zoning commission on July 11 heard a sketch-plan review from Memmer Homes.

A sketch plan is the initial step in the development process and is not voted on; instead, commissioners and members of the public can give feedback to the developer before more formal plans are presented.

The company wants to build 34 townhomes on about 4 acres at 2770 Carriage Road, near its intersection with Liberty Road and adjacent to Wyandot Run Elementary School and Liberty Middle School.

Developer Jeff Memmer said the project will be a "charming, low-profile plan" aimed at empty-nesters.

Nearly a dozen residents spoke against the project, many of them homeowners in the nearby Westchester neighborhood off Carriage Road. Many cited increased traffic, high-density development and a lack of detail in Memmer's plans.

"Putting 34 homes on a 4-acre lot does not fit the area," said Carriage Road resident Keith Sarbaugh. "It's way too dense for that area. You have all single-family homes everywhere around there, and it's going to look like an apartment complex right in the middle."

The Westchester Home Owners Association submitted a petition with more than 100 signatures opposing the project, president Brent Burchfield said.

Some of the property is covered by wetlands, which could hinder development.

"Currently there are some wetlands on the site, and we are working through with the engineers on that," Memmer said.

The city's development department reviewed the sketch plan and found that "no sense of place is being created here. As proposed, this is just a row upon row of sameness architecture," according to its report.

Officials also criticized the housing density.

"In this space, the density doesn't seem to be correct. As proposed it would 8.5 units per acre - currently Powell allows between 1.7 and 7 units per acre depending on the type of development," said Rocky Kambo, assistant development director.

Commission members echoed the concerns of residents.

"Quite honestly, I'm amazed the schools never picked this piece of property up," said commission chairman Don Emerick. "The density is an issue for me. Access into the site, off of Carriage (Road) is a concern, particularly emergency access. Once you get through the wetlands process, you've got your work cut out for you."

The next planning and zoning meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, at the Village Green municipal building, 47 Hall St.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNEWS